Officials from Montgomery County in Pennsylvania, US, have broken ground on the new $415m Justice Center in downtown Norristown.

Being developed in three phases over a period of five years, the project involves the construction of a six-storey, 325,000ft² building, which will be connected to the existing courthouse.

Additionally, it will see more than the doubling of the size of Hancock Square park. This includes the expansion of the park to 57,000ft² from the current 23,000ft², direct access from Main Street, and incorporation of current monuments into reflective spaces.

The scope of work also includes the complete renovation of the existing courthouse facility and a full replacement of all utility infrastructure systems.

Skanska is serving as construction manager for the project, which is designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners chair Dr Valerie Arkoosh said: “Breaking ground on this transformational project will create local jobs and procurement opportunities right here in Montgomery County for years to come.

“The Justice Center represents years of planning to design a state-of-the-art facility that will meet the County’s needs for the next century and make all justice-related services more accessible to our residents.”

The centre is expected to enhance downtown Norristown’s vitality as it provides new public spaces with improved access to the surrounding streets.

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners vice-chair Kenneth Lawrence said: “The Justice Center’s design was intentional to expand public park space while also creating a welcoming environment for anyone visiting the facility.

“This project will change the face of Main Street and complement ongoing efforts to bolster the development of downtown Norristown.”

The Justice Center will combine the court and administrative facilities into a single 508,150ft² campus. This is expected to create a one-stop shop for anyone interacting with the County’s justice system.